How To Rebuild Your Marriage After The Affair: Guidelines For The Wayward Spouse

To the Wayward Spouse

As the guilty party, you are the cause for the disastrous state your relationship has come to, but that does not mean you are powerless to make things better. How much better depends a great deal on the strength of your previous bond as a couple and the strength of character of both parties, especially you.

In this article, you will find encouragement, hope, and practical suggestions for healing and rebuilding a stronger and happier relationship.

The Disclosure

Handle with care

Most wayward spouses wonder at some point, perhaps often, whether to tell or not to tell. All the experts agree that those unfaithful partners who bite the bullet and voluntarily tell their spouses about the affair are much more likely to come out of the experience with their present marriage or committed relationship intact. This is not because the wounded party is less likely to be heartbroken by the news of the affair, but because it will be easier to trust the betrayer, eventually, if they volunteered the information.

Those who discover the unthinkable truth about infidelity through the whispers of gossip, the well-meaning divulgences of a friend, or in some accidental fashion will inevitably remain hurt longer than those who were told outright by their errant partners. In the future, it will also be easier for the wounded party to trust the betrayer if the truth about the affair came out voluntarily.

After all, when the painful truth comes to light without the betrayer, the wounded one may rightfully wonder whether the unfaithful one would ever have been honest... or ever will be honest again. So to avoid the incalculable damage that will ensue when trust is shattered by some other means than your own disclosure to your spouse, honesty is truly the only choice.

Do's and don'ts

Think it out in advance. Whatever you do, you do not want to make things worse by the way you handle the disclosure. Be prepared to be assaulted by any number of reactions, from a cold, indifferent withdrawal to a berserk, prolonged outburst. Your spouse is entitled to a reaction, though it is, of course, your responsibility to protect yourself from violence, should that appear possible.

Experts say that the most successful disclosures of infidelity-the ones that have the happiest endings-have several things in common, all revolving around the attitude of the betrayer. A self-effacing approach is universally considered the best. Admit your wrongdoing wholeheartedly, in simple, sincere terms. Show your heartbroken partner that you are truly sorry by being vulnerable and without defenses. Lashing out with retaliatory responses to their understandable hostility will not protect you, and will not help your partner perceive you as worthy of trust in the future.

Make the promise to completely cut off the affair, and then follow through. Be a better watchdog over yourself and your foibles than your spouse could ever be. There will never be a healing for you or your committed relationship if you don't take this most important step and honor it with your whole being and intent.

Avoid the blame game

No matter what reasons or excuses your tortured brain may come up with for betraying the person to whom you originally committed yourself and your love, marriage counselors agree that the initial disclosure of the infidelity is not the time to address them.

Likewise, evasive answers and threats to leave the marriage are not helpful, and are more than likely to compound the problem, possibly to the point of no return. Even if you believe the marriage is over and you are irredeemably in love with the "other" person, it is better by far to deal with the disclosure of infidelity without presenting the possibility of divorce at the same time.

When all is said and done, love is an ephemeral thing, as subject to the whims of time and change as the lives of the humans who find themselves caught up in its often transient wonder.

It's not your turn

This is not the time to burden your spouse with your chaotic feelings. Most affairs occur as a result of an attraction that is not only physical, but emotional as well. This can be interpreted as love, and when the unfaithful one decides to cut off the affair, it can be extremely painful for them. Experts council caution at this point, though. It may be tempting to turn to your spouse as one who might be able to comfort you in this dark hour, but it's not your place, as the guilty party, to expect such relief.

Put off your own healing for a more appropriate time. Gather your integrity, tenderness, concern, and courage to help heal your wounded partner and your marriage instead.

What if I'm Found Out?

When your infidelity comes to light without your voluntary disclosure, a constellation of difficult problems is created. Perhaps your spouse was told by a family member or friend, or actually saw you with your illicit lover. This is a pivotal moment in time for your relationship with your spouse and for you both as individuals. What you do in this moment may, in a single act, change the course of your life, your spouse's life, your lover's life, and the life of your relationship.

Counselors say that those who indicate a sincere and profound remorse when they are confronted with such a discovery are much more likely to weather the inevitable storm to come better than those who take a defensive position. Here are some courses of action you may want to commit to memory, in case you're still in the midst of an affair, and haven't told your spouse the truth yet:

The honorable way to act if your infidelity is discovered:

1. Tell the truth. If you think you might want to save your marriage, you will stop lying at the moment your betrayal is discovered, and refrain from any dissembling or evasive tactics in the future. It would be wise to take this opportunity to tell yourself the truth as well, about the amount of pain you are inflicting on your spouse and family, and the enormous damage it will probably cause.

2. Show your partner your sincere remorse. Now is the moment of discovery you've been trying so hard to avoid. Rather than attempting to dance around it, confront it with your spouse in a clean, transparent fashion. The wounded party may very well be unresponsive to such humility at the moment of discovery, but it will count for something later, after the smoke clears and the hard work of rebuilding trust has begun.

3. No accusations, no excuses. There may be reasons you consider legitimate for having an extramarital affair. Don't bring them up now, or even in the near future. Later, perhaps in the office of a good marriage counselor, you may carefully broach the subject. But if you have any inclination toward saving your marriage or committed relationship, now is not the time.

4. Accept the blame. Accusing your illicit lover of things like "making" you do it is simply laughable, though nobody will be laughing at this point. Even if you felt cornered, you still had the choice. Likewise, citing loneliness or ill-treatment from your spouse as your reason for having an affair is also unacceptable, since there are other ways to address those problems.

5. Drop all pretense and manipulations. This suggestion is aimed specifically at gamey behavior people often drag into play when they feel threatened. The usual ploys couples often find helpful during day-to-day living, such as gift-giving or seductive behavior, will only be met with more horror from the one betrayed, and increase their distrust long into the future.

6. Don't bring up divorce... unless you're willing to go there. Whether you have children or not, divorce is never a walk in the park. For most committed couples, the experience is exactly the same, psychologically, as going through the death of the loved one. If you are not completely positive that you want a divorce, the best policy is to wait until you've talked the possibility through with a professional counselor, in order to get help in making the best decision you can. REMEMBER: When in doubt, leave it out.

7. Say goodbye to your secret lover-once. The best way to approach this painful but ever-so-necessary step is with the full knowledge of your spouse. A meeting-whether above-board or secret-is obviously not allowed. Get your spouse's permission to call and do the deed in the presence of your spouse. If your affair partner insists on trying to contact you, arrange your life so that you are not the one who deals personally with this problem.

8. Promise it's over, and mean it. If you want to try to heal your marriage after this devastating obstacle, you must stop seeing your lover and break off communications entirely, once you've broken the news. This means no calls, no emails, no texts, and no covert messages through third parties or otherwise. No more. This is the rule, tried and true, and it applies to colleagues and friends turned lovers alike. The fallout from such a circumstance might include changing your job, changing your phone number, changing your children's schools, changing your church, not attending family gatherings, or even moving. If you want your marriage back, you'll do whatever it takes to totally separate yourself from your affair partner and give all your energy, attention, and caring back to your committed relationship.

How to Say Goodbye to an Affair Partner

Get your mind set first. Decide that the affair is truly over, and then relay that information to your heart, before you ever make the farewell call. Include the following items in your call:

a. Tell the affair partner you've decided to stop, and that the affair is now over

b. Tell the affair partner you love your spouse

c. Admit that what you did with the affair partner was hurtful and wrong

d. Ask the affair partner not to contact you in any way again

Taking the High Road

In any successful reconstruction of a relationship torn apart by infidelity, the obligation for showing good will and kindness always falls on the betrayer. This does not mean, however, that the unfaithful party must lose themselves in self-flagellation and shame. That kind of obsequious acting out is almost always fraught with more dysfunction and creates more problems than it solves.

What it does mean is that the betrayer sets aside most of his or her own needs and goals in favor of the greater good of the marriage and family unit. Listening and talking to your spouse with respect is essential, for example, even if they lash out in verbal anger at times, out of pain and confusion.

Boundaries in reconstruction

Accepting the culpability for your damaged relationship can be tricky. You're hurting too, after all, and your world is now upside-down, just like your partner's. Giving yourself over to the rebuilding process is, of course, of paramount importance, at least until the danger of the total destruction of your marriage has past. But clinical experts warn against giving too much of yourself away in a misplaced effort to fix everything and atone for sins, real or imagined.

Betrayers frequently feel that they must divulge every thought and emotion they have, in order to regain the trust of the partner they betrayed. This is a codependent mechanism that can actually cause deep damage, during the rebuilding of the relationship, and later on.

Simply put, counselors say that, although the betrayer is obligated to be the "Good Guy," the tendency to let go of all psychic boundaries and be completely vulnerable puts more pressure, not less, on the wounded party. In extreme cases, they end up taking care of the betrayer, in the form of giving them the attention they require to be absolved. Dealing with their own pain becomes sidetracked, and the betrayer becomes the center of attention, once again.

A gracious balance of self-respect for all parties and an understanding of the reasons for the affair are more helpful, in the short and long run, than misplaced vulnerability or submission.

Make up your Mind... and Surrender

For the marriage to recover, your commitment to it must be whole-hearted. In the beginning, especially if your infidelity was accidentally discovered rather than disclosed by you voluntarily, you, the unfaithful one, may still feel bonded in passion and caring for your affair partner. This will gradually dissipate, as you consciously direct your attention toward healing your marriage and helping the one you wounded to find his or her path out of the maze of chaotic feelings and pain.

Once you've worked your way through your own fog to the decision that you do, indeed, want to recommit to your marriage, prepare yourself for the possibility of a long period of perdition. Experts say that the length of the reconstruction period typically lasts at least six months, and often lasts more than one year.

One of the best ways to look at the process of rebuilding is to think of it as good practice in becoming a better person. As human beings, we all tend to wander through the world in habitual ways of acting and reacting that are more or less unconscious. When a betrayer sincerely wants to heal a broken relationship and comfort a broken-hearted spouse, an attitude of wakeful awareness is the most helpful for everyone involved. Conscious people make conscious choices, which are inevitably better all around.

The real balancing act

Maybe your relationship had been the kind where one party leaned heavily on the other during the course of their walk through life. Maybe both partners tended to lean against the other, a precarious balancing act indeed. Or possibly, you had been going down the road without even holding hands, like friendly roommates, or even acquaintances who just happened to find themselves on the same journey. It's more than likely that one of these couples' stances accurately describes your relationship before the affair. It's unlikely that the affair would have happened otherwise.

The best possible way for a couple to walk down life's road together is holding hands, standing straight, and not leaning on the other. That way, when one of the partners trips, the other won't fall, but will instead be instantly available to help them regain their balance. Their help will come without thinking, intuitively correcting the balance, not only of the one who falters, but also of the couple, simultaneously.

When we surrender control over the other person in a committed relationship, we have a chance-a good one-of learning to travel through the maze of life side-by-side in this balanced, healthy way. We can only control or change ourselves, not the other person. And it's the realization of this that allows us to learn respect and acceptance for another and, eventually, come to a place of deep trust that will help keep both parties balanced in times of trouble for the rest of their lives together.

How to Help Your Wounded Partner and Rebuild a Broken Relationship

Experts on your present journey advocate these tips to keep in mind throughout the process:

a. Observe your emotions, rather than acting on them

b. Observe the emotions of the partner you betrayed, rather than reacting to them

c. Be conscious of your knee-jerk reactions and decide whether they are helpful or not

d. Be generous with your kindness

e. Take time each morning and evening to evaluate your progress

f. Reaffirm your intentions to heal the relationship with your spouse frequently

g. Open the way to honest communications, without pressing

h. Take care of yourself, as well as your wounded partner

i. Allow your partner the space he or she needs to heal

j. Consider working with a professional marriage counselor during the rebuilding experience

This is true balance, true wisdom, and true authenticity, manifested in the synergistic entity of an awakened, mature, loving couple.

Impressive Technology Enhances the Sony Ericsson Aino

The Sony Ericsson Aino is a phone which comes with a plethora of functionality. In some respects the level of technology included within this handset is hard to believe. It packs an amazing amount of features within a compact casing. In fact the handset measures 104 mm x 50 mm wide and is only 15 mm thick.

A 3 inch TFT capacitive touch screen is one of the integral elements of this handset. It offers stunning imagery by virtue of its ability to display up to 16 million colours and experience within a pixel screen size of 240 x 432 pixels. With limited touch screen functionality this handset provides effective functionality in a simple and user-friendly manner. An accelerometer sensor provides the means to auto rotate imagery dependent upon the orientation of the camera. The handset also provides a variety of alert types included within the package as well as the ability to download polyphonic, MP3 and AAC ringtones. A speakerphone which comes with stereo speakers is also provided.

The phone comes with an internal memory of 55 MB, however most packages include an 8 GB card which can be utilised within the microSD slot. In fact the slot can be utilised to expand the memory up to 32 GB if required. Entertainment is provided by an MP3/MP4 player and a stereo FM radio. In addition the handset comes with a remote play for PlayStation 3 feature, YouTube and Facebook applications as well as an organiser and a voice memo facility.

Connectivity is provided by GPRS, EDGE, Blue tooth and USB. Internet access at speeds of up to 7.2 MB per second are provided by the HSDPA connection whilst the Wi Fi connection offers the ability to access nationally available hotspots.

An 8.1 megapixel camera which operates at 3264 x 2440 pixels is provided with this handset. In addition to aid photo taking the camera also provides auto focus, touch focus, face detection and geo-tagging. An LED flash is also provided for illumination. For those who prefer the medium of video, the camera also doubles up as a video capture device and will record at VGA quality and at 30 frames per second and also comes with the additional feature of a video stabiliser. Video calling, a popular feature with many, is also available on this handset

The Sony Ericsson Aino is a handset which is already turning heads. Its level of functionality empowers its owner with the ability to conduct a huge variety of tasks whilst out and about. It provides this functionality with a level of simplicity that endears the phone to the public.

Social Media Marketing - 3 Best Twitter Uses

Why Would I Tell Others What I Am Doing?

This article is about making Twitter pay in your business or life. Twitter is very new in the bigger world of communicating. It is still in the adoption phase, and that makes Twitter a moving target with regard to how best to you use it. Personally, "tweeting" is fine, if my time is unlimited and my interests are diverse. However to many of us, we need to make our Twitter time pay off. Below I give you the 3 top uses of Twitter so that immediately you put it to its absolutely best use.

Twitter as the latest social web networking gizmo, is intended to allow others of your choice to know what you do all day. You may ask yourself, "why should I spend my time telling other people what I am doing?" That is a very good question. Twitter is designed to generate social and business value out of answering that question. On the face of it, Twitter looks like a monumental instant messaging system. And some people use it that way. But that is not what it is about. At least, that is not what where its true power resides.

What Is The Unique Value of Twitter

Here is the answer. In short, Twitter is immediate, it is searchable, and it allows you access to contacts that can be of further use to you. On top of this, everything about Twitter is free. If you believe in what you do, what you do all day will be in line with your interests and beliefs. So if I am reading a blog, writing an article or filming a video, then that stuff will be of interest to my followers. You might say that that is nobody's business if you are from the old school. In the old days, your family or the people that live in your neighborhood and work in your office or place of work are the only people that need to know. Well, the neighborhood just got much bigger due to the web. Your community is defined across geography and the people that you see everyday. And more and more, the way that you make yourself known to others that share a mutual interest, is through the web. Use Twitter to find, communicate with and promote to them.

The best way to utilize this article is to bring to mind now the things that are important to you:
1) your market niche,
2) a personal interest or hobby
3) a cause that you are committed to.

When you read this brief article, use your interest to put this information to work immediately by trying it out. Here are the three ways to use Twitter:

1. The Twitter Search

There are at least three ways of searching Twitter to find out things of importance to you. Here are the ones that I find most useful:

  • What is the most popular URL of interest to you being discussed now on Twitter? Remember content is on websites, not usually on 2.0 sites. Therefore, in order to answer this question, you should go to Twitter(url)y. Twitter(url)y provides a sort of voting system based on the number of times that a URL is used (either in TinyURL, Snipurl (snurl) or full URL) by people using Twitter. URL's are ranked from top 100 highest voted URL's based on this voting system.
  • Most popular topic of interest to you . Use to find specific term(s) that is(are) of interest to you. Are you interested in bee farming....type it in the search bar, and find out what's buzzing. And seriously, bee farming does have results in this search.
  • Others in your geographical area with similar interests on Twitter. Use Are your interests local? Now you can connect with people in your area that Twitter in areas of interest to you. TwitterLocal allows you to receive tweets specifically from people of specified distances from a zip code of your choice. This is great if you have social interests (schools, organizations, government) that you want to be updated about. It also provides the top 40 worldwide locations with the highest Twitter activity if you want to connect with the hottest geographies. If you are opening a hot dog stand in your area, this would be a good way to get the word out for free.

2. Contacts - New and Existing Twitter is about finding out what is being discussed. But more importantly, Twitter is about who is discussing it. How do you find out about high impact people now? In the virtual world, probably you search on Google and read and comment on their blogs or you get involved in on-line communities. In the real world, you have real communities or maybe Meet-Up groups.

After you find out Twitter people that are talking about the things that are important to you via one of the methods above, follow them by clicking on their link. In the beginning, you may be tempted to follow everybody. Resist the temptation. Choose carefully who you follow. I find a good way to decide who I will follow, is to look at some of the content that they have created (not just re-tweeted) and find out if they appear to be opinion leaders and not just re-distributing other peoples' material all of the time. The opinion leaders are important because they will give you access to quality material and they can in turn be useful for getting behind your opinions.

When you create quality material, you will quickly become known for that and people will begin to follow you very quickly.

3. Promoting Content

Most likely, you will have some content that you have or will create that merits some distribution to a deserving audience. Your content could be anything - a grand opening of a physical store, a website or blog, or a YouTube video (or Facebook Page or Linked-In page). You name it. Twitter gives you 140 characters per tweet to get your word out. Additionally for long URL's, it will automatically provide a shortened version (TinyURL). You need to think very compact and creative to get your word out in 140 characters. Twhirl is a user interface that can be downloaded for free and can reside on the desktop of your computer for ongoing access to Twitter.

When promoting anything, remember that you are doing people a favor in communicating to them via Twitter. In so doing, ensure that you include followers that are open and willing participants in mutual interests. Make your content relevant to your followers. Also if you have found something of interest, re-tweet that content that would be of mutual interest to your followers. Influencing other people to your way of thinking is also a good use of your time on Twitter. After all, if you believe in what you do, it will be reflected in what you do all day. So, when you are tweeting something that you are doing presently it should be something that is at least, expectantly entertaining, or at the least content-rich. Be respectful of others' eye-time.

In Summary

Twitter has its focused use. If you are looking for the latest, searchable news and who is in on "the conversation", this is the medium for you. I heard a quote that says "the community defines the channel, the channel does not define the community." Twitter is the channel, the community is yours. The Twitter channel is a fast-paced one that provides vital signs to some conversations that are or will be important to you. It is not the answer to every communication need, but it is valuable. Use the information right now to put this to work for you.

Follow me on Twitter -

© Copyright - 2008 Frank Dobner

SEO - Hey Newbie, Everybody Else Is Doing It, Are You?

So you really like being on Facebook and you have over a hundred followers on twitter, you follow two hundred but... is that all you do with your social sites, just gossip maybe and catch up with the latest happenings? As a new online internet marketer you could and should be doing so much more to increase your level of success with social media. The social media is one form of off-site optimization that you should be employing in your search engine optimization efforts.

Social media basically is about putting all those social sites you love so much like Facebook, Twitter, Google + etc. to actually work for you, thereby generating traffic which hopefully will lead to increased revenue. In other words, more money for you.

Here are a few ideas on how to make the social media work for you:

Researching your Market

The social media is all about connecting with and to people. As a new internet marketer it's one of the best and most inexpensive ways to research your market. Why do you want to do this? So you won't be wandering in the dark. Market research will help you to know and develop the right kind of product that your market will be interested in. You can use the social media to carry out surveys, get people to review your business in order to get the information you need for your product.

Reputation Management

As a new internet marketer your reputation is very important as an individual and as a site owner. We all know one of the best ways to start out on the internet is to sell affiliate products. As such you can't always guarantee the quality of every single product you promote so, you may get some negative feed-backs which will reflect poorly on you. Trust me that's the last thing you want to happen. If you plan on being a successful internet marketer you MUST have a good reputation. However with the social media you can take corrective measures. You can respond to the negative comments, give your customers an explanation and put yourself back in good standing with them.

Reduce your advertising bill

If you had a regular brick and mortar store you'd be spending heavily on advertising to get buyers to your store. On the internet you still need to advertise (perhaps even more so) but the difference is that you don't have to spend as heavily. Social media sites help you create brand awareness. You have the opportunity to create an avatar on each social site. This could be your business logo or mascot. All you need to do to do is expose them by constantly giving useful comments on these sites and deliver on your promises. Eventually people will come to recognize your brand and what you stand for. They will reward you by buying your offerings and telling others about you. Once they're satisfied you could have a loyal following for a long time to come.

These steps are ones you can do for yourself and you don't need the services of an SEO company to get good results either. If you like to using the social media then as an online marketer you should do so in the most beneficial ways to you. Search engine optimization doesn't have to be difficult, it's about following certain principles and guidelines.

How to Build Your Own Wood Deck

A deck area in your backyard or lawn can really enhance the whole look of your house. It can even add value to your whole property. Deck and patio areas are very good for entertaining friends and guests. You can even organize various small parties and birthdays in that area. Even if you do not have enough money to engage a professional deck contractor you can still build your own home deck by following some essentials tips and methods.

Building a wood deck is not a very difficult task. All you have to do is to plan out the area, choose a design and collect the important tools and equipments that you would need for the construction process. Below stated are some essential tips that can really help you in the task of deck building.

1. Submit your plans to the local authorities
Before you start with the construction process it is very essential for you to consult your local authorities. They will tell you about the easement and restriction policies. After this work is done submit your construction plans and get the local utility company to mark your underground utilities.

2. Select and order all the materials
Selecting and ordering the materials is a time taking process so it should always be done before starting the construction process. You can inquire about the cost of different materials through online sites and home improvement stores. Always order the exact amount of materials as this will prevent the unnecessary wastage.

3. Prepare the construction site
Measure the ground area and mark the borders. After this is done, use a shovel and remove weeds and grass from that particular area. Once your working space is cleared, add mulch to the area to prevent the further growth of weeds.

4. Laying out
Once the shoveling and measuring is done the next step would be to lay out the deck. This is a very important process so it has to be done with great care. The slope of the ground should be kept in mind before marking the rectangular area.

5. Attach the ledger
If your deck floor is not able to support the whole weight of the deck then it becomes very essential for you to attach a ledger. A ledger is the board or band that is attached to your house wall so that it supports the deck area.

6. Adding posts to the construction
4x4 size concrete posts can be added to the deck area after the basic construction is completed. Posts would help you to add a shade to your deck area.

I am sure these tips would certainly help you to build your own wood deck area.

Social Media in the Business - To - Business Environment

Purpose of this article:

Social networking has been around a while. Now, social media is the hot topic for marketers. Yet, it's a confusing area for many marketing managers, CEOs and CMOs. In this article I attempt to de-mystify social media, especially for b-to-b marketers.

This article addresses:

The Emergence of Social Media
The Landscape
Embracing Social Media
The Process
What to look for in a social media partner

The pay off? You've experienced it.
You've already experienced the pay-off of a "social" connection. You meet someone socially or in business or in your neighborhood, and you uncover a common interest: kids, gardening, books, biking, golf, whatever. You ask what they do for a living. Later, a business connection happens, or, a referral which leads to business. Social media is simply the explosion of this type of interaction, thanks to tools that have - and will - make socialMedia more prevalent.

We (you) can't stop it
Social media is exploding because it affords people new ways to connect in the online world to form relationships in both their personal and their business lives. It's Web 2.0 at its finest: user-generated content, growing exponentially, without a lot of push from companies selling product.

Social media defined
People (who typically don't know each other) finding a common interest, then connecting and talking about that interest. It's the fastest-growing segment of communications today. SocialMedia is a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialog (many to many). Social media represents a shift in how people research, discover, read and share news and information and content.

A cultural transformation
Culture changes. Usually slowly. But not today, as "networking" transforms the information / communications world. Social media, which is exploding exponentially, is both a result of, and an mirror of, our new information world. It's not a fad or "the latest thing" - it's here to stay.

Today, people get information from people, not just from enterprise
Fact: 67% of consumers rely on information from other consumers, not from companies. This trend may not be as strong in the business environment as it is in the consumer world, but truly people have uncovered "social" venues for getting and giving information.

The buzz about your products, services
People are talking about your products and services - and those conversations are going on without you. Wouldn't you rather be there to listen, participate, and promote and protect your brand?

Today's social media landscape: consumer brands
Consumer brands are figuring it out: using Twitter, for example, to have customers and prospects "follow" them - and preparing to communicate socially on a mass basis in case of a PR emergency.

Today's social media landscape: b-to-b brands
Business to business brands are watching more than acting right now, trying to understand the payoff. Both consumer brands and b-to-b marketers are seeking to develop a "social media strategy" - defining and maneuvering around the landscape. Since social media is here to stay, almost all marketers are at least paying attention to socialMedia and social marketing.

Interesting statistics!

o 68% of best-in-class companies have a process in place for monitoring social media.
o 21% of best-of-class companies plan to boost their social-media marketing budgets by more than 25% in 2009.
o Those companies that are investing in socialMedia as part of their marketing strategy say they are getting good preliminary results.
o There are over 9 million blogs on the internet. 40,000 new blogs pop up everyday
o 1 in 20 Americans are on Twitter
Source: Aberdeen Group (BtoB Magazine), Newsweek

YouTube stats!
o You think people (even b-to-b people) don't view online videos? According to data published by market research company comScore, YouTube had more than six billion videos viewed in January 2009. It is estimated that 15 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute, and that in 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000. In March 2008, YouTube's bandwidth costs were estimated at approximately US$1 million a day. Alexa ranks YouTube as the third most visited website on the Internet, behind Yahoo! and Google.
Source: Wikipedia

"But the payoff seems slow."
Be patient. Your "social-connections-then-business" mentioned above didn't happen overnight. Twitter has crazily turned the term social-media into a household phrase. But social-media is much more than Twitter, an done tool such as Twitter does not make a socialMedia strategy (see page __ ). People are probably talking about your company. You need to monitor, mine (defined later) engage, and in some cases be ready with a reactive strategy.

On being human
The biggest tip that experts give socialMedia students is this: be human. Listen, observe, understand, and when you're ready to engage, do so in a social (not business) mode. When you meet someone socially, if you preach about your product right away, you turn people off. Again, be patient. Build relationships. The business connections will come.

Making it work: the B2B Inc. social media process
Here's a basic process flow as to how B2B Inc. goes about developing and implementing your social media strategy

Assess: the social landscape as it pertains to sites and social networks which talk about your product category, your brand, your competitors

Monitor: a "watch strategy" to view and document the buzz

Mine: uncover the actual sentiment of your brand that is held in the minds of social visitors

Vernacular: study the language people are using; adapt your language to theirs
Presence: where are the "water coolers"; where do you need to be in order to be part of the conversation

Oligarchy: People follow experts; you need to find the "elders" who are talking about your industry, your brand - and connect with them

Don't preach: be human; talk and socialize; don't sell as much as you converse, help, connect, have some fun

Team: create a social media team within your organization; each person has a roll in terms of their social media participation (the outbound effort); determine also who handles what inbound topics and issues as they arise - so, roles must be established for your team... customer service, legal, sales, executives, etc.

Online videos: yes, YouTube! (See stats below!) Don't dismiss the power of online videos - they have tremendous reach and SEO (search engine optimization) potential, and they're often at the epicenter of today's social networking - you can "sell" without selling, by informing and entertaining your audience

Measure: what does a spike in conversations about your brand mean in terms of web visits, downloads, sales? Social media measurement is developing, and at its basic level, you can chart conversations about you and plot them against metrics such as site visits, downloads, refer-a-friend, YouTube views, contact-us activity, etc.

Create the "water cooler": If there is not a water cooler for discussion about your brand, create one!

What to look for in a social media partner
If you are seeking help in the social media front, make sure that the firm you choose will cover at least the following topics when they talk to you or present solutions for you:

o Finding your online "water coolers"
o Collecting and documenting the sentiment surrounding your brand
o Monitoring and mining
o Creating and maintaining content
o Production of online videos
o Analytics and regular reporting
o Developing your social media "team" in house and training them in how to engage in online conversations and respond to issues
o Actually developing a written social media strategy
o Also, ensure that your socialMedia partner participates actively in "continuing education"; this is new stuff!

Social media as a discipline will continue to be a moving target for some time; something that will have to be nurtured. But it is here, and here to stay; you can't stop it - it's driven by your customers and prospects. Strategies and tactics will need to be re-visited and tweaked on a continual basis.

The Joys of Salt Water Boating!

Just imagine yourself sitting on the dock of a boat, being lulled into serenity by the motion of the waves in the ocean. Saltwater boating carries with it many benefits and joys, including that of relaxation. There are millions of people throughout the world who feel that the only real way to relax is to head to the beach and sail away.

Whether you want to fish or ski, saltwater boating is a great way to connect with friends and family. You can spend the entire day on your boat just talking, laughing and sailing away. Other activities that are becoming very popular with saltwater boaters include snorkeling and scuba diving. If you are an experienced diver, there simply is no better way to wash away the stress of life than by going into the water and seeing all the nature has in store under the sea.

Saltwater fishing is an activity that can be as much fun as you can stand. The various types of fish that are available, the different rods, reels and bait and the different venues all make this activity available to anyone from eight to eighty.

Skiing and diving in salt water will wear you out by the end of the day and you will not believe how much fun either activity is. Divers see some of the coolest things in the water and there is nothing like going forty five miles an hour while standing on a couple of four inch by four feet pieces of wood while holding onto a rope behind a speeding boat.

Saltwater boating is a very common activity among vacationers. On beaches throughout the world you will find that there are many boats for rent, many that come complete with a captain, just in case you have no idea how to sail. From deck boats which offer a huge deck that is perfect for entertaining to fishing and skiing boats, you can find many boat rentals at beaches around the world that can cater to all your boating needs.

Even if you have never been on a boat in the ocean, you will likely enjoy saltwater boating. Whether you want to fish, swim, and dive or just simply lie on the deck and soak up the sunshine, being out on the clear blue waters of the sea have a calming effect that helps to relax you, improve your mood and even help you to feel healthier. The next time that you feel life getting you down, just go boating.

The Enchanting Story of Rapunzel

Rapunzel is the beautiful storybook for children. Rapunzel is the beautiful girl in Grimms Brothers version. Paul O.Zelinsky beautifully depicted the edition Rapunzel. Story of Rapunzel is the best way to introduce the Italian Renaissance art and fairy tale to your child.

A child who hates reading can literally fall in love with this book, as it is the beautiful picture book. The depiction and illustrations of stories are wonderful. A child, who hates learning, will cheerfully study the details of the beautiful Rapunzel. Children's usually love to hear the magical stories. Nevertheless, if you are a professional and want some kind of entertainment, inspiration and fun, these fictional stories are forever part of life.

The story of the Rapunzel helps the reader to form new ideas, as the stories are very fresh in style. The words used in the book are much easy to understand and sounds real. According to Zelinskys research, the story of Rapunzel is not from Brothers Grimm, it is the German translation of an French literary fairy tale. The primary edition of the brothers grimm is derieved from an oral tale.

Initially, the Rapunzel book was published in 1812 as a part of Children's and household tales. It is one of the best fairy tales. Everyone is familiar with the line "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair" from the story of Rapunzel. Children will enjoy the imaginary fairy tale. The beautiful picture of Rapunzel and prince is the best part of this fairy tale book.

LG KU990 Viewty - The Choice of Everyone

LG comes with lots of latest handset model. The LG KU990 Viewty is one of the best handsets from the house of LG. The touchscreen stylish phone comes with 3G technology. The small and smart phone comes with high quality imaging features. The incredibly fashionable design handset is available in different colours. These vibrating colours include glossy black, sophisticated dark silver, sunning purple, elegant pink and hot red. The LG KU990 Viewty key features are 5.1 mega pixels camera, video recording, 3 inches TFT LCD display with 262K colours, FM Radio with RDS, 100 MB memory and 3G HSDPA technology. This easy holding device comes with 112 grams of weight. This light weighted device measures 103.5 x 54.4 x 14.8 mm in dimensions, which is a good size for a 3G touchscreen phone.

It has a screen size of 3.0 inches. The TFT touchscreen device is filled with 256K colours. This screen is empowered with a resolution of 240 x 400 pixels with flash UI and downloadable wallpapers' option. The users can also use their finger to control the phone's touchscreen. The slim and sleek phone has 100 MB of shared memory, with which the users can save their messages, pictures, videos and contacts in the phone's memory. The expandable comes with microSD (TransFlash) memory card support with up to 2 GB. Its Phone book has a capacity of store 500 contact entries with Photocall feature. This device keeps the record of 40 dialled, 40 received and 40 missed calls. The Viewty's full rechargeable battery gives approximately 4 hours of talktime and 434 hours of standby time, respectively. The third generation device operates on the Triband technology, which supports 2G and 3G networks. Its 2G network covers 900, 1800 and 1900 GSM and 2100 HSDPA frequencies.

The LG KU990 Viewty is a 5 megapixels camera phone, which comes with Schneider Kreuznach lens and xenon flash feature. The high resolution camera phone comes with autofocus and digital zoom. Its image stabiliser option allows the users to avoid the hand shakes, while taking still picture. The dedicated camera key or camera settings allows people to select the camera or video settings. The users can save their favourite photos or videos in the photo album. The video camera comes with video record, video player, video editor, video settings, video keys, video calling, photo caller ID, picture wallpaper and screensavers. This 5 megapixels camera allows the device users to capture excellent videos and audio.

The high speed technology connectivity feature supports 3G HSDPA, USB, Bluetooth, EDGE, GPRS and TV-out technologies. The 3G HSDPA connectivity feature lets the users to access high speed download packet. Its EDGE technology gives high speed data transmission facility. Whereas, Bluetooth technology allows one to download or transfer the data from other devices.

The LG KU990 Viewty has WAP and xHTML enabled Internet browser. The built-in music feature comes with music player, FM Radio with RDS, MP3 and polyphonic ringtones and voice recorder. The users can record their voice through voice recorder. Whereas, the FM Radio with RDS option allows the users to listen to the latest songs and news reports. The communication messaging features include SMS or text messaging, EMS or enhanced messaging, MMS or multimedia messaging, Email and predictive text. The predictive text messaging give a chance to the users to type fastly while sending the message to the receiver. The entertainment game features are embedded with Java and preloaded games. The users can also download games for more enjoyment. The organiser features include Phonebook, calendar, alarm clock, calculator, vibrating alert and handsfree speaker.

Stunning Smart Phone Technology Included Within the Samsung M1 Vodafone 360

The Samsung M1 Vodafone 360 takes smart phone technology to a new level. The inclusion of the hugely impressive ARM cortex A8 600 MHz processor as its main CPU and the inclusion of the powerVR SGX graphics capability ensures this handset is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to this, its Linux-based LiMo operating system is innovative and revolutionary in equal measure. The handset measures 112 mm x 55 mm wide and is 13 mm thick, whilst weighing 111 g.

The handset offers a 3.2 inch TFT touch screen which is able to display an effective colour range of up to 16 million colours at a pixel screen size of 240 x 400 pixels. As its primary means of accessing the variety of functionality included within the handset, a 3-D user interface is provided which is simple and effective as well as being extremely responsive. The phone comes with an internal memory of 1 GB although this can be significantly expanded upon by utilising the microSD slot provided. This allows the handset to expand the memory storage up to 16 GB.

The handset comes with a 3.15 mega pixel camera which operates at a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. Images produced with this camera are suitably good enough to display on the screen and be printed out at a reasonable quality. In addition to the static image option there is also the ability to record and playback video at VGA quality and at 15 frames per second. The addition of a secondary camera provides additional advantages to this handset.

GPRS and EDGE are included within this connectivity bundle, whilst the HSDPA connection provides internet access at fast speeds, thus ensuring web browsing is enjoyable and not laborious. In addition, Blue tooth and USB are also provided which ensures the ability to share files and synchronise with other devices simply and seamlessly. Satellite navigation is provided with the GPS function within this handset also comes with a-GPS support.

Entertainment is provided by a variety of means which includes and stereo FM radio that comes with RDS, as well as an MP3 and MPEG 4 video player. An organiser completes the features within this handset.

The Samsung M1 Vodafone 360 is a handset offers many endearing features and functions that appeal to the phone consumer. Utilising innovative technology has provided Samsung with a handset which adds to their already burgeoning range. The advances within this handset add an additional dimension to the phone which will appeal to the technologically minded individual.

Lessons of Leadership (Book Review)

I took a Caribbean cruise over the Christmas holidays. Once I'm on board, I don't disembark too often as I've already seen most of the sights. Instead, I prefer to catch up on my reading. While the passengers are ashore, I have the run of the ship to myself. It's very peaceful and relaxing I might add. As I grow older, I now gravitate to biographies and history as I find it more interesting than fiction. On this particular trip, I read two books:

"CHURCHILL & SEA POWER" - Christopher M. Bell (2013, Oxford University Press, ISBN 987-0-19-969357-3) - Bell, is an Associate Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia..

"AMERICAN LION - ANDREW JACKSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE" - Jon Meacham (2008, Random House, ISBN 978-0-8129-7346-4) - Meacham, is executive editor and executive VP at Random House. He is also a former editor-in-chief of"Newsweek."

Both books had their own unique story to tell, but from my perspective they provided me with some interesting insight into what made Churchill and Jackson effective leaders. In Part One, herein, I will first discuss the Churchill book. In Part Two, I will address the Jackson book and make some conclusions about both leaders.


This was certainly not my first book on the legendary former Prime Minister. Years ago I read William Manchester's "THE LAST LION, Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940" (1988, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 0-316-54512-0) which I still consider the authoritative description of Churchill between the world wars. I recently purchased Bell's book as I wanted to know more about the Gallipoli campaign which is generally regarded as a major failure of Churchill's. In fact, the purpose of the Bell book is to analyze the prime minister's failures over the years in order to ascertain if the blame truly belonged to him, or possibly rested elsewhere. In other words, Bell was attempting to impartially set the record straight. In particular, Bell challenges the findings of Captain Stephen Roskill who was charged with producing the official British history of naval operations in World War II, where he was highly critical of Churchill's perceived "interferences" with naval strategy.

By the time Churchill assumed the role of Prime Minister in 1940, he was uniquely qualified as a military leader. He saw active duty in the Army during the Boar War, was Lord of the Admiralty (twice), and was a proponent of Air Power. Whether he was working at the Admiralty, Treasury, Exchequer, or as PM, all jobs were performed with the same level of zeal and vigor.

As the British Isles are separated from Europe, it naturally relied on naval supremacy to form a defensive shield around it. This meant the thinking in military circles was more defensive in nature as opposed to offensive, particularly during the 20th century. This didn't sit well with Churchill who always wanted to take the war to the enemy as opposed to waiting to be pummeled by his opponent. He despised military idleness, whether it be in the Navy, Army or Air Force, particularly when there were offensive opportunities available. This thinking was in sharp contrast to military planners at the time.

During the first World War, when Churchill served as First Lord of the Admiralty (overseeing the Royal Navy), he proposed the Dardanelles Campaign in Turkey whereby he intended to move a force of aging Dreadnaughts, along with one modern battleship, up into the Dardanelles straight and pound Turkish positions, possibly going as far as Constantinople (today's Istanbul). It was thought the Turks would be weak, and with a show of force from Britain, they would renege their support of Germany. Should anything go wrong, the naval force could easily retire from their positions back into the Mediterranean Sea. The plan was simple and could have succeeded, but it was considered too risky by military planners who insisted on invading the Gallipoli peninsula with a force of approximately 70,000 men. As the British were to discover, the Turks were in a better position to defend their land and much tougher to fight than was envisioned, thereby becoming a bloody defeat and an embarrassing loss. Churchill was blamed for the defeat which ultimately cost him his position as head of the Admiralty and politically devastated his career, which took several years to rebuild. As Bell points out in his book, Churchill's original plan was much simpler in ambition and scope, but he bowed to the conservative views of the military who brought in the Army as part of the campaign. Even though it was not entirely his fault, Churchill assumed the blame for the defeat and nobody else.

During World War II, when Churchill was now serving as PM, the Nazis were dependent on iron ore from Sweden for their development of armaments. This was being shipped through the northern Norwegian port of Narvik. As Norway was still neutral at the time, Churchill devised a plan to invade Norway and seize the port, thereby intercepting the flow of iron ore to Germany. Again, conservative military planners thought this was too risky and required a massive buildup of forces on the ground to repel Germany should they decide to retaliate, and to mine the waters. The operation was delayed due to intensive planning. In the meantime, the Nazis trumped the British by invading and seizing the country in its entirety. Again, Churchill's plans were thwarted by indecision and caution. As before, Churchill assumed lone responsibility for the failure while others remained silent.

As a leader, Churchill was well informed, decisive, and probably not as "reckless" as his critics would argue. He possessed an intellectual curiosity on just about everything and thrived on debate, either in public forums or close personal relations. He would challenge his advisers to stand up to his arguments and would be frustrated when they would not. Bottom-line, he would listen to his subordinates, but they would have to argue to defend their positions. While some would suggest Churchill was "browbeating" his people, he was simply challenging them to think and take a stand, a smart tactic in motivating people.

As Bell points out, in the end, Churchill's record was misunderstood by the public and his critics, leaving it to historians to sort out his intentions. There is considerable detail in the book to support his arguments, but what emerges from the pages is a profile of a strong leader with a Type "A" personality who is bold and imaginative, and deeply frustrated by cautious people particularly early in his political career. So much so, he would challenge them to think outside of the box, take risks, and force them to argue their case. After all, this was war.

Whether you are a fan or foe of Churchill's, Bell's new book is an excellent read to consider both the pros and cons of the British leader.


This book has been out for a few years already, but I purchased it as I see a parallel between the pre-Civil War years of the United States and today. Jackson was the most influential president of this period. Naturally, I wanted to know why. This book also received some excellent reviews. Meacham's new book on Thomas Jefferson was recently released, which I hope to read soon.

The first half of "American Lion" reminded me of television's "Downton Abbey" filled with gossip and faux pas of protocol. Coming from the western frontier, Jackson was initially considered a country bumpkin by the Washington elite. He surprised them by his observance of poise, etiquette, intelligence, and understanding of politics. The Washington establishment quickly learned not to underestimate him.

Jackson possessed a paternalistic quality, whereby he considered the citizens his kin. Not surprising, Jackson is regarded as the founder of the Democratic Party, "the party of the people." He had a strong sense of family probably because he came from a broken one himself. Jackson never knew his father as he had died prior to Andrew's birth. The three Jackson brothers, all in their teens, served in the Revolutionary War which ultimately claimed the lives of Andrew's brothers. Young Andrew was close to his mother, Elizabeth, but alas she too perished during the war. Jackson thereby became an orphan at age 14.

Years after her death, Jackson was fond of quoting the advice his mother gave him shortly before she died:

"Andrew, if I should not see you again, I wish you to remember and treasure up some things I have already said to you: in this world you will have to make your own way. To do that you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest, and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will in the long run expect as much from you as they give to you. To forget an obligation or be ungrateful for a kindness is a base crime - not merely a fault or a sin, but an actual crime. Men guilty of it sooner or later must suffer the penalty. In personal conduct be always polite but never obsequious. None will respect you more than you respect yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition. But sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit in law for assault and battery or for defamation. The law affords no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man. Never would the feelings of others. Never brook wanton outrage upon your own feelings. If you ever have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait till your wrath cools before you proceed."

This became the law of his life and gives us great insight into his personality.

His nickname became "Old Hickory" which denoted his toughness, particularly during the War of 1812, where he earned his celebrity as general by defeating the British in New Orleans. This propelled him to a political career. Even though he was defeated in his first campaign for president, he went on to win two consecutive terms from 1829 to 1837. Although his wife, Rachel, saw him win election, she died just before Jackson was installed as president. Feeling lonely, Jackson recruited his nephew, Andrew Donelson, to become his personal secretary and by doing so the Donelson family took up quarters in the White House. Donelson's 21 year old wife, Emily, thereby became the official hostess of the White House. This particularly agreed with Jackson as he desperately craved a family environment.

Prior to Jackson's arrival at the Capitol, the executive branch was considered weaker than the legislative branch (Congress). This all changed under Jackson. Because of his strong personality, coupled with toughness and perseverance, Jackson expanded the role of the presidency, much to the consternation of Congress. Three points were of particular interest to him: a love of country, a commitment to the Union, and the people. These three elements were the variables Jackson considered as he conquered many difficult challenges of the day, to wit:

* He paid off the federal debt. He considered being beholden to creditors a dangerous policy to pursue (something I wish today's government would embrace).

* He eliminated the Bank of the United States. To Jackson, the bank had become too influential and catered to the rich as opposed to the people (again, another parallel to today).

* He upheld American interests abroad when threatened. He took retribution from Sumatran pirates who attacked and plundered the American merchant ship, "Friendship." He also stood up to France who initially refused to pay off a war debt of $5 million. Fearing Jackson would go to war with France, the French paid off their debt.

* He moved the Indians west of the Mississippi, a highly controversial move as Jackson subverted existing treaties. Nonetheless, he felt obliged to bring safety and security to the country.

* He put down an uprising in South Carolina to secede from the Union. Jackson believed in states rights, but he was deeply committed to maintaining the Union. 32 years later, South Carolina would secede thereby marking the beginning of the American Civil War.

All of these matters were difficult and needed to be addressed. As in war, Jackson rose to the occasion and he tackled them head-on. Although he could be political, Jackson would be confrontational after his mind had been made up: "Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in."

Jackson's legacy was expansion of the power of the presidency thereby earning him the wrath of the Congress. His adversaries were primarily John C. Calhoun of South Carolina (and his first Vice President), and Henry Clay of Kentucky, both of whom characterized Jackson as tyrannical. Jackson was ultimately censured by the Congress which chaffed him greatly, causing him to spend years to expunge the decision which was done shortly before his death. Despite the Congress, the American people loved him, which baffled the congressmen of the day. His dominance as president was such that Jackson overshadowed all of his successors until Lincoln who became the first president since Jackson to be elected to consecutive terms of office. All others had been elected to just one.

Churchill and Jackson

Reading these two books, back-to-back, I marveled at the skill of Churchill and Jackson as leaders. Both were intelligent and decisive men; they abhorred indecisiveness and understood the necessity of tackling a problem immediately as opposed to waiting and allowing it to fester. They both knew how to improvise, going so far as to bend the rules as long as the means justified the end result. Both were men of integrity where their word was their bond and they assumed responsibility for their actions even in the face of disaster. And they both possessed a strong sense of family. Perhaps their most important attribute was their sense of morality; that they always tried to do what was right and honorable.

As Jackson wrote an acquaintance in 1826: "You cannot have forgotten the advice I give to all my young friends, that is to say, as they pass through life have apparent confidence in all, real confidence in none, until from actual experience it is found that the individual is worthy of it - from this rule I have never departed... When I have found men mere politicians, bending to the popular breeze and changing with it, for the self-popularity, I have ever shunned them, believing that they were unworthy of my confidence - but still treat them with hospitality and politeness."

I only wish our political leaders of today possessed such strength of character.

Keep the Faith!

30 Minute Article Writing - 3 Simple Tips to Write Articles in Less Than 30 Minutes

As a writer, it's definitely an advantage for you if you know how to write your articles a bit quicker as this is one of the keys to boost your productivity. In this article, I'll teach you some tricks that can definitely cut your writing time in half.

Here's how you can write great articles in less than 30 minutes:

1. Prepare ahead of time. Before you start writing, make sure that everything you need is ready. These include your computer, internet connection, resource materials, and other software that you might need like voice recognition software. This is to make sure that you'll avoid unnecessary delays in the middle of the process.

2. Choose your topics wisely. As you're trying to finish writing your articles in 30 minutes or less, it will help if you stick with topics that you already pretty well. You see, you don't want to read so many online resources just to get the information you need and to fully understand your main topic -- this will eat a lot of your writing time. Be an expert on your subjects first before you start writing them.

3. Focus. Write on one-hour segments. During those 60 minutes, make sure that you concentrate on getting your articles done. Do not entertain instant messages or phone call just yet. This is the key to make sure that your train of thoughts will not be disrupted. Also, avoid writing and editing your articles all at the same time. It will work to your advantage if you do one task at a time.

Sleeping on the Job - Could You Be a Hotel Mystery Shopper?

Fancy a job sleeping in fancy hotels? How about sleeping and eating and getting paid for it? The job does exist - and it's called hotel mystery shopping.

Establishments worldwide know that, when it comes to fiscal fitness, knowing their customers means pleasing their customers, and a satisfied customer is a return customer. The idiom 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is wise counsel for the accommodation industry. The initial sale of a product or service is the hardest sell. It is always wiser and more cost effective that a business ensures that it keeps its clientele, rather than recruit new custom.

An establishment that really knows their client demographic can aim to please, and to this end the wise enlist the use of trained hotel mystery shopping professionals.

What do they do?

As a mystery evaluator, your job is to gather and report on your experience as a guest in an establishment. You may be required to focus on the cleanliness, front office or room service, up-selling strategies, restaurant and any of numerous aspects involved in the overall experience. By now the likely question on your lips is; "What qualities do I need to do this job?"

What qualities do you need?

As a mystery shopper or 'evaluator' you may work as part of a team if employed by a company that specialises in outsourcing the job. Or, you may be a private contractor, which means that essentially you are working in business for yourself. As you are employer and employee of your own concern you will need to have and cultivate the same responsibilities that the CEO of any company displays, and expect the same high standards of yourself that the director of any successful company would have of their employee.


If you take on an assignment it is imperative that the job is executed within the allotted timeframe, and that it is seen through to completion. Remember your service is only one part in the larger scheme of a marketing campaign and that your client may have commitments with other businesses reliant on the timely results of your report.

Following instructions

Each assignment will have been commissioned to seek information about a particular aspect of the client's company. In other words, a company that employs your services will have a definite agenda, based upon the identified areas of need or results of extensive company research. It is therefore vital that the result of their investment in a hotel mystery shopping report is delivered within their specific given brief.

If you fail to follow the client brief to the letter you can expect your report to be rejected. Ensure that you are fully cognisant as to what you are expected to do, and if unsure on any point, don't waste their time and yours. Communication with your clients is vital; ask to clarify before you commit to the assignment.


As a professional it is important to look the part at all times, and looking the part will help you act accordingly. Essentially you are working 'under cover', hence you want to blend into the crowd. To be an effective 'secret shopper' you need to stay incognito, especially if you hope for more than a few assignments in the same town.


The report that you will present to your client as the summation of your research needs to read and look professional. Some clients will give very clear specifications as to how they want their report presented. However, as a rule, ensure that you avoid fancy fonts and that you use a simple font like Arial or Times Roman at size 12. Use headings and spacing at 1.5 for easy readability.

It is imperative that you proofread your work carefully and try to allow a day between the writing and the sending off of your report. By reading your report aloud and with fresh eyes you are more likely to pick up mistakes that you may have overlooked on first editing.

At all costs during correspondence with the client and in the report, avoid emoticons, abbreviations, acronyms and slang. Make sure that all correspondence is professional; misspellings and bad grammar attract the wrong kind of attention. This attention needs to extend to your email address as well '' is guaranteed to undermine the professional tone of the business image that you are endeavouring to create.


Discretion is the key to professionally executing your job, and to remaining in the industry. Be mindful that your part is to remain anonymous, objective and to judge ruthlessly. For a hotel mystery shopping professional, like any good spy, gossip should be strictly avoided in your after-hours repertoire.

Getting Over Your Ex After Breaking Up - 3 Best Steps To Do It

Getting over a breakup can be one of the hardest challenges you will face in this life (even if it was done amicably) especially when the ex you thought was your knight in shining armor, turned out to be a fox and you, little red riding hood. Yes, and men your angel sent from above manages to transform herself into a snake under grass. We all fall prey to the fangs of a breakup at some point in our lives (if you haven't, count your blessings). However, we cannot all just let it get the best of us. When sorrow thinks it's gotten its way, you nip it in the bud well before you have a nervous breakdown. Here are a few suggestions to transition from "in a relationship" to "single."

Cry me a River

Often times we view crying as a sign of weakness but there could not be a better prescription for a broken heart. All the pent up hurt and pain that is a heart attack waiting to happen can be released. However, you may want to do this in the confines of your home or somewhere private. The last thing you want is adding an "embarrassing situation" to your list of what you need to cry about. Look on the bright side; you are taking an important step in the healing process. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, author of Emotional Healing: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions And Transform Your Life, "Emotional tears have health benefits." She cited that biochemist Dr. William Frey discovered that emotional tears, "contains stress hormones that get excreted from the body through crying," and that, "crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body's natural painkiller and "feel-good" hormones." It is important, however, to bounce back in a reasonable time. If you must, allocate a grieving period, keep it short. We can't feel self-pity forever. Get up, dust yourself off, and learn to love again. Go ahead... BAWL.

Allocate a Post-Mortem period

Find someone who you can talk to, a close friend or family; anyone who will give an unbiased, yet sympathetic ear to your needs. Do not be afraid to employ the services of a counselor or therapist. No, you are not crazy but you are taking the steps necessary to maintain your sanity. Social interaction allows you to cleanse your system of the toxins of a bad relationship while focusing on moving forward. Choosing the right person to express your thoughts is also important. The "village P.R.O" may not be the right person if you do not want to be featured in the "Gossip central" section of your local newspaper. But why have friends if you can't trust at least one of them? You might also want to investigate the relationship to determine the source of the problem. If you were the problem, or at least a part of the problem (this is the time to be honest with yourself), then see where you went wrong and try to find ways in which you could have better dealt with the situation.

If your ex was the problem, then there may have been telltale signs that he exhibited and you ignored. Like when he disrespected you in front of friends, or when she was way too cozy with your best friend. Now you know some of the signs, if you see them again RUN like the world is ending. Think about the bad times. Here's a good one... the endless cheating. Tell yourself you deserve to be treated better, and feel justified. At this point your desire should be for a better relationship. Breathe a sigh of relief and holler at the top of your lungs, "I'm free." Think of it in a positive way: it could be another chance to find your Mr. Right. It's like a "get out of jail free" card... just in time for Mardi Gras.

Go Out, get your groove back

Talking about Mardi Gras, go out, get with friends and family, meet people. Personally, I would not want to go out alone lest I wind up seeing my ex in everything I do (even if we did not engage in the activity). You need a distraction and who are better distracters than friends? The park may be a good option, the movies, the games (if you can afford it), and other events. If you want some "me" time, yoga is a fulfilling activity as it not only engages your body but also your mind. Take that trip you always wanted to take but could not because you and your ex's schedules always clashed. Catch up on what you've missed while you were dedicating your life, love, sweat, and tears to that good-for-nothing... whoosah... let's get back on track. But yes, channel that inner strength, have fun, and leave no stone unturned.

After a breakup, always remember the dos and the don'ts. Do eat right, do get yourself pampered, and do expect great things in the future. On the other hand, don't call, text, or stalk your ex. Don't meet for a booty call, and, please, don't keep visiting your ex's Facebook profile. If possible avoid all social networking. Congratulations, you are officially "on the market."

How to Get Into an Art and Design School

Art and design, offering huge range of lucrative professions is attracting a hefty number of students to build their career. There are many who are gifted with creative skills and want to make a career in art and design. Pursuing education in an art and design field combined with the suitable skills and aptitude can make a living out of doing what you love to do. For this, selection of right school and course is highly important, but the question is how to get into art and design school. If you are searching for an answer then here are few important steps that may help you get into the best art and design school of the United States-

1. There are huge number art schools in the United States, so decide which one you want to join. Research on schools to know about the majors they offer. Knowing about the curriculum along with courses offered by the schools will help you to compare the best school.

2. Create a portfolio of your artwork, because many reputed art schools of the United States ask for such portfolios in order to judge your skills or potential. So, always show your original work, as artwork made from photographs or illustrations is never entertained by any schools.

3. Making impressive portfolio doesn't mean it has to be expensive. Selecting 15 to 25 pieces of organized and presentable work is enough for judges to determine your potential. Always try to display your original work that are neat and can show your actual talent.

4. You may not be called to show your portfolio in person. In this case you have to prepare 35mm slides, digital images or prints of your work.

5. Your academic components might play major role in getting reputed school. Your test scores and grades are often considered to decide merit-based scholarships.

Apart from all this, the next significant aspect that you need to think while getting into an art and design school is your letters of recommendation. You must note that your letters of recommendation actually play a very important job in conveying information regarding you. It can further help you tell more about yourself that at times gets impossible to be explained in the application.

Many people dream to make their career in art and design, but very few can take up the way they want and proceed to a more sophisticated level. There are number of personalities who have achieved fame and millionaire or billionaire status. Following above said tips can guide you the way to get your desired goal like others did.

Nokia N Series Cell Phones

Nokia N series are easy to use and innovative multimedia devices. This series is based on Series 60 smart platform. Here the users have the option to select one of the 3000 applications, to add new functionality as per their requirements. Some of the rich communication features here include two-way conferencing, sharing of videos, multiple messaging options.

These mobile phones have stylish design and support high quality printing and video recording. The Nokia N series mobile phones provide user with rich music experience and offer them with facility to download the music on air and store them.

One can easily balance their personal and professional life. For professionals the handset has various productivity features like access to push email with attachment, full organizer features, etc. The series has special PC synchronization facility. One can easily organize music, images, video, and organize data with the help if Nokia PC suite. It has several connectivity options; hence, you can use the phone anytime. To access the Internet, the N series devices support high-speed wireless technology like wireless Local area network (LAN) or RG.

Something that attracts every user is the high performance multimedia facility. These phones in the Nokia N series have large color display; facilitate HTML web browser, video streaming, etc. If you want to get access to latest news & information or want to gain access to entertainment zone, then mobile phones can provide you with the necessary help.

If you are interested in buying a new Nokia N series cell phone, then browse through a good online mobile store. See that they have mobile phone comparison facility and provide you with the features list of all N series mobile phones. Hot deals and additional services is something you can ask them for if you are interested in buying the cell phone.

Pet Carriers Can Save Your Pet and Your Day

Why does the average pet parent need a pet carrier?

I will list just a few here. The first reason that comes to mind is a video I have seen about an animal shelter worker trying to control a mature cat, without a pet carrier, that got spooked and freaked out.

You do need a dog carrier if you have a cat that travels with you or just to go to the vet office from time to time. But, you already knew that, right.

You do not want your pet moving around the car while you are driving. Of course they want to be in your lap and help drive. This is very dangerous for you, your pet and other drivers.

Pet carriers are an ideal option for traveling with cats and small dogs because they act not only as a form of protection, but also can provide a reassuring space for the pet within the vehicle, train or airplane. All pets are more relaxed in their own safe and secure den which the pet carrier provides. When you arrive at your destination you will have a happier and relaxed pet. So consider your pet and get yourself a pet carrier.

Note: Please-remember your pet on hot days. Do not leave them in the car inside or outside their carrier.

Pet Carriers have become a popular item partially due to the constant scenes on the news, in magazines and tabloids of Hollywood stars carrying their pets in some sort of fancy and stylish carrier on their arm while conducting their daily business, entertainment or otherwise.

Not all pet carriers are created equal so do your homework.

Soft sided and hard sided carriers specifically designed as pet carriers are acceptable for most activities. Prices on pet carriers will vary widely depending upon the size, material and quality of the pet carrier. These can range in price from $30 up to hundreds of dollars for designer pet carriers.

Carriers are attached to the seat belt and headrests of most vehicles, and are entirely enclosed, apart from mesh windows that allow for ventilation and for the animal to look around.

My favorite carriers are those produced for the average pet parent wanting to carry their pet without busting the budget. These carriers buckle into the seat belt in the vehicle. Once unbuckled the carrier functions as a safe and portable environment for the pet.

Some carriers are now doubling as a handbag as well as a dog carriers. These are typically not the secure type carrier.

There is one model of carrier I like very much. It comes in two pieces. One piece is the actual carrier. The other piece is the carrier base. This base is secured in the car seat belt and stays in the car. When you are ready to go you simply snap the carrier into the base just as you would a baby car seat. It is actually easier than a car seat.

Most carriers are designed for small dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and other reasonably tame small animals. Many manufacturers say that their carrier will handle a 15 lb pet and, this may be technically true. The question is do you really want to walk around a shopping center or a street fair toting a 15 pound dog in a dog carrier.

Most dog carriers work best for the smaller breeds.

Some carriers have wheels just like your small suitcase you pull behind you as you walk through the airport or the shopping mall. These can be very handy.

If you are a frequent flyer or think you might ever need to take your pet on a plane I suggest you check the airlines you may be traveling on for their requirements for pets. Many manufacturers say their dog carriers are airline approved however I find it hard to believe that all these manufacturers are keeping up with the regulations for all airlines. Get the dimensions then check your favorite couple of airlines for their requirements.

Depending upon airline pet policies, pet carriers may be allowed in the cabin of the aircraft as long as they can be stored under the seat but again, check with your airline first.

You can easily see that for owners who like to keep their pampered pets near them wherever they go, pet carriers are the perfect solution.

How to Gain Gifts From Today's Challenging Times

This must go beyond the trite "when life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade." It's about being resilient and truly empowered to choose your life rather than be a victim of circumstance and old tapes playing in your head. Beware of the R-word you amplify- by giving it more energy in what you digest, say, think. Try Renaissance, Renew, Reframe. Refrain from letting all this noise get you down and keep Rebooting over and over to be the prosperous winners in this "storm." Join me in singing, I fear not storms, for I have learned how to sail my ship. OK, I promise grounded reality along with my gushy optimism.

Many people are in or heading toward a transition- from job loss or similar circumstances. Whenever life throws us off course, it's also a chance to hit the pause button, reassess and reflect on what we truly want to create. Then we can move forward feeling even more "on course" or in sync with our best selves and meant-to-be success. At a New Thought church service, a man shares that he has just lost his job and the congregation applauds. Implicit in this seemingly odd response is a loving encouragement that this will somehow open up new doors for his destined prosperity.

Think back to the horror and pain from 9-11 that also led to a massive wake up call. People were saying things like, "I have a new perspective on what really matters." That tragedy spurred millions of people to stop and notice what was precious to them, re-evaluate priorities and seek to create a life with authentic meaning. This economic "crisis" can certainly be used to help us wake up and find more sustainable ways to be good stewards of our life energy- including money- for a world that works for everyone.

Multiply these more deeply chosen lives, and we have a grand opportunity to collectively create a more loving, fulfilling, harmonious planet.

Our point of view about what's happening is critical. With a job loss, one voice within understandably us whines, "Why is this happening to me?" Another voice in there (that you can cultivate) asks, "Hmm- what's the opportunity in this for me? How do I use this experience to help me grow? How might I take advantage of change for a fresh start?" Try on that perspective everything happens for a reason. Einstein liked to say that the fundamental question is "Is the universe friendly?"

I don't want to encourage simply candy-coating things-it's important to realistically see the crummy parts of transition and wake up call experiences and to acknowledge feelings of sadness, anger, frustration and fear. Of course, we are entitled to feel our feelings. Let's accept that as the initial human reaction with compassion.

Your next move is a crucial choice-do you want to remain stuck in pain or replaying the past or do you want to focus forward on what's possible and truly go for what you'd love to create? A great question can be "What's the best that could come out of this? We've all seen stories of laid off employees who found better careers and lifestyles because of the necessity to get thoughtful and resourceful about creating new livelihoods. I've seen the Passion Meets Profit Matrix process that I do with clients open up new livelihood possibilities many times over.

It's dangerous to over-simplify the complex nature of any life transition, so I offer the following suggestions with respect for your own unique process and encourage you to find relevant support and custom tailor your own steps to effectively managing your transition.

1. Acknowledge and clear your feelings. Let yourself feel what you feel and find a way to release some of the emotion- physical movement, writing, venting, Tarzan yelling- whatever. Talk with others for sake of letting this energy out of your system and making room for new good to come in. Don't keep rehashing the bad news story. Release it to clear out your pipes for the flow of prosperity to come in.

2. Reflect & Refocus. Take stock of what you still have and express gratitude. (I still have my ability to think, my talent for xyz, my aspirations for.... I'm grateful for relationships al.) Take long walks, bike ride or even an extra long hot shower and ask yourself some powerful questions, such as "How do I want to feel three months from now? What will it take to get there? What does my ideal typical week look like? What would I look forward to in a new job or career move? What could I do to fuel that? Who could help with that? Get curious- "What are the lessons to be gained from what happened? Thus, how am I wiser, stronger, more aware moving forward? What will I choose to do differently in the future?"

3. Choose. Entertain the notion that everything is a choice. There are no "have to's." No one has a gun to your head. Decide what you want to choose for the next chapter of your life. Simply choosing doesn't guarantee you'll get it, however, the power of your intentions makes a huge difference. Feeling like you are at choice is certainly better than feeling like everything is a should or that you have no say-so why not adopt this philosophy? Choosing what matters most and what you'll honor as authentic priorities are absolutely up to you.

4. Get into action. You could start with that vision of how you want to feel or whatever desired outcome three months from now. Work backwards from this goal until you find something small enough that you can do the next day. Pick that first step, find the right person(s) for encouragement and accountability support and keep going.

The Vodafone 533 Lady Comes With a Whole Host of Functionality

The Vodafone 533 Lady is an impressive handset that provides functionality at an affordable price. Simplistic design and useful features are the most endearing elements of this handset. The handset measures 98 mm x 46 mm wide and is 14 mm thick. It weighs just 90 g. This makes the handset a lightweight handset that is comfortable to hold and easy-to-use.

The handset comes with a 2 inch TFT screen which is able to display up to 256,000 colours at a pixel screen size of 176 x 220 pixels. Colours are represented in a vibrant and clear fashion due to the large number of colours able to be displayed. The handset comes with vibration and ring alerts included within the package which are polyphonic and MP3 ringtones. The speakerphone included within this package provides hands-free communication which is always a useful feature.

The handset comes with a 1.3 megapixel camera which has an operating resolution of 1280 by 1024 pixels. This is suitably good enough quality to provide imagery for the display screen, however should the user decide to print out the captured images they may appear grainy in nature. The handset comes with 8 MB of internal memory, however by utilising the provided microSD slot this can be upgraded to a significantly improved 4 GB.

Communication is provided by the GPRS, EDGE, Blue tooth and USB connections integrated within this handset. This ensures the handset can be utilised and connect to a variety of devices and systems and perform tasks seamlessly, such as file sharing and synchronisation with a PC.

Entertainment is provided by the built in MP3 player and stereo FM radio which happens to have RDS capabilities. The player will play the majority of audio files whilst the radio provides the opportunity to listen to radio broadcasts from a variety of local and national radio stations.

The Vodafone 533 Lady is an accomplished handset which provides affordable technology within a stylish case. Much like the Vodafone 541 Black its premise is simple. It aims to provide a handset which is eminently usable at a price that all can afford. It achieves this aim with distinction.

Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack

If you want hot stuff toys for Christmas 2008, you've come to the right place. The kids all want the Bakugan Battle Brawlers and thrive on the intricacies of the game. Exciting, action packed, hours of entertainment with fascinating storylines for each battle. What more could a kid ask for in terms of fun that keeps them occupied and involved in this mind stimulating game.

Yes, battle strategies challenge young minds to look at the bigger picture in order to be a success at Bakugan. Rich characters, versatile gaming techniques, plotting to outwit the opponents all add up to a more powerful gaming experience for your child.

Another bonus of this game is it sharpens your child's skills at math. While you might think of it as just a "game" the various components involved in playing this fantasy adventure do teach your child life skills they may use later. It's darn hard to find games like this with a dual purpose that benefits the kids.

Even the original plot of this game has the power to stimulate imaginations. Born in Tokyo in 2007 as a TV series, it made its debut worldwide the same year. The central theme of the plot for the 51 TV episodes features creatures called the Bakugan and the battle brawlers.

It all began when one day random cards fell out of the sky. Dan, the main character and some of his friends invent a game using the cards and in the process they become the Bakugan Battle Brawlers. They then find themselves fighting for the fate of Vestroia against some nasty characters - Bakugan Naga, Hal-G and Masquerade.

Kids love this storyline and immerse themselves in the personalities of the games characters. The game makes use of metal cards with magnetic spring-loaded mini figures, called Bakugan. The point here is to grab three of your opponent's gate cards or vanquish all their Bakugan.

This game is suitable for 5 years and up and can be played with 2 to 6 players. Good news, the all new 2008 version of Bakugan Battle Brawlers is even bigger and packs more power. The sizes of the pieces have increased from 28 mm to 32 mm. This means new strategies to contemplate and even bigger and better battles.

Even better this year is the addition of clear, reverse color and dual attribute Bakugan. Imagine the fun your kids are going to have with all these latest game changes. The most exciting development is the clear Bakugan that lets the attribute take the form of the opponent's attribute. With the addition of this new little twist, players may choose what attribute is associated with it if both roll a clear Bakugan.

Psst! This game isn't just for kids you know. If you're an adult with a love of adventure and a passion for interesting games and stories, this game should be in your stocking too.

Things to Do in Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Arizona is the fifth most populated city in the United States with over four million people living in the area. This is the hottest city in America with temperatures reaching as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is located in the northeast of the Sonoran Desert. If you are visiting for a short or long period of time there will be plenty for you to do. Here is a list of just some of the possibilities in Phoenix Arizona.

The Desert Botanical garden will give you an idea about all the desert plants that can be found. Many people view deserts as places that are arid and without life, but these plants will allow you to have a better idea of the diverse vegetation to be found. This exhibit covers over 50 acres and is well worth a visit.

The Arizona Science Center is has over three hundred exhibits as well as a planetarium. This is a great day out for all the family that will be educational as well as fun. Many of the exhibits are interactive and new attractions are being added all the time.

Camelback Mountain is probably the most famous landmark associated with Phoenix Arizona and well worth a visit if you fancy a bit of a hike. This offers the highest peak in the Phoenix Mountains.

Piestewa Peak is another climb that will give you some great scenery to gaze upon. If you fancy a bit of exercise then this hike will get your heart pumping. You will be glad you made the effort when you reach the peak. This is actually one of the most popular hikes in the whole United States.

Rawhide Western Town is for all those people who would like to experience what the Wild West was all about. It will be easy to imagine yourself in the role of cowboy or cowgirl and you will get to see a recreation of life during this period of American history. If you keep your eyes open you might even get to see a gun fight or two. This is also the place for a great steak in Rawhide's much praised restaurant.

The Apache Trial is a drive that you will never forget. This is not only one of the most scenic drives in the United States, but it is also one of the most dangerous. The 45 miles of twist and turns will be worth it, but just make sure that you drive safely and people are encouraged not to make this journey when the temperature is too high.

South Mountain Park is another great place for hiking and cycling. There is over 50 miles of trails and you might even decide to try a bit of horse riding. Dobbin's lookout is the highest point in the park and you will get a great view of the rest of the park from here.

Phoenix Arizona is a wonderful location for a holiday, and you are sure to find plenty to keep you entertained for every minute of your visit.